Saturday, March 8, 2008

Overweight and Cholesterol intake in your diet

The effect of dietary cholesterol on cholesterol levels in the blood is less crucial and more variable among individuals than the effects of saturated fat - nevertheless, it plays an important contributory role and this is why the recommended limit for cholesterol consumption has been set at 300 mg per day. Of course, the average person has no means of measuring the amount of cholesterol in various foods, but what you can do is identify those which are rich sources and ensure that you eat them in moderation only (see below).

Foods high in cholesterol

Diet Start

Beef, butter, chicken, turkey, duck, cream, all full-cream dairy products, fish, lamb , mutton, pork, tongue

Foods very high in cholesterol

Brains, caviar, egg yolks, giblets, kidneys, liver, prawns, shrimps

These foods are also high in saturated fat and should be eaten only occasionally. (Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol levels far more than does dietary cholesterol in animal foods.)

Overweight and heart disease

The role of obesity or overweight as an independent risk factor for CHD has not been clearly established, but what is known is that it is associated with risk factors such as raised LDL (`bad') cholesterol and total blood cholesterol, lower HDL (`good') cholesterol, hypertension(high blood pressure) and diabetes mellitus. Hypertension is much more common in overweight people; moreover, when weight is reduced and then maintained at a lower level, blood pressure tends to drop as well - if the weight goes up again, so does the blood pressure. There is a particularly strong link between obesity and hypertension in children and for this reason, it is important that children and adolescents do not gain excess weight - in fact, maintaining an ideal body weight should be a goal for the population in general.

Obesity also seems to be a significant, independent predictor of coronary heart disease, especially in women. Although women generally have lower blood cholesterol levels than men, these tend to rise after the menopause. Smoking also seems to be on the increase in women and this can be an important contributory factor. It has been shown that if you are overweight, a cigarette smoker and you take oral contraceptives, your risk of having a heart attack increases significantly.

In summary, the maintenance of ideal body weight by means of a combined diet and exercise programme makes good sense because of the relationship between obesity and an increased risk of heart disease. Also, for a large number of people who suffer from hypertension, weight control can be an effective way of treating the problem and may prevent the necessity for drug treatment.

... andjoyohoxing